Back To 100 Percent
Wild Card Molik Finds Her Balance
August 20, 2005
By ROBERTO GONZALEZ, Courant Staff Writer
NEW HAVEN -- Alicia Molik looked at the crowd, smiled and said: "I'm here because I would like to give myself a good draw."
Molik, ranked No.13, was kidding, but she did participate in the women's main draw selection at the Pilot Pen Friday at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
The draw for the men's tournament is today. Qualifying for the women began Friday; men's qualifying begins today.
Molik was thrilled when she learned she received one of three wild cards into the tournament.
"I was over the moon," she said. "It's pretty important to get a late tournament before the U.S. Open. To get the opportunity to play here a week before the U.S. Open I think is a big confidence boost. It will be great to have a few quality matches under my belt heading into a Grand Slam."
The women's field includes nine of the top 15 players. The top four seeds, who receive byes into the second round, are top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 6 Elena Dementieva.
Davenport might have the toughest draw among the top seeds; she could face No. 25 Tatiana Golovin in the second round. Golovin, who got into the main draw after Evgenia Linetskaya withdrew because of a stomach illness, plays a qualifier in the first round.
Mauresmo's toughest challenge might not come until the quarterfinals, where she could meet No.10 Nadia Petrova.
Molik is happy to be playing again. An inner ear infection affected her vision and balance, keeping her out for much of the year.
She is Australia's top women's player and reached No.8 in February. Molik started the season by winning her fifth career title in Sydney, then reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, the semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium, and the finals in Doha, Qatar, before she caught the ear infection in April.
"The timing couldn't have been worse, basically," Molik said. "I was playing the best tennis of my life. I was struck down with quite an unusual illness."
She tried a comeback the first week of June in Birmingham, England, but lost in the second round to Laura Granville. She took more time off but did not begin feeling 100 percent until about two weeks ago, she said.
Molik opens the Pilot Pen against Gisela Dulko, who she defeated in Miami in March. Molik is in the same bracket as Dementieva, and would face her in the quarterfinals.
"In this type of field where you have the top four or five players in the world and you've got many from the top 15, any draw is a tough one," Molik said.
She is also playing doubles at the Pilot Pen with Corina Morariu.